Put people into a situation where they disagree, and pretty soon they’re squaring off at each other, each one digging in their heels and working hard to find reasons why they’re right and the other person is wrong.
We all do it. We do it in business meetings, in customer service situations, with colleagues, and even with the people we love most. It seems logical. After all, we want to win the argument. We want the other person to back down, to admit that we know best, to go along with what we want. Of course, that’s exactly what the other person wants as well. So there you are, each of you getting more and more frustrated and angry. In extreme cases, the conversation gets destructive and relationships fall apart.
And yet, there’s one simple concept that changes the whole scenario. What if neither of you was the enemy? What if, despite the fact that you’re disagreeing about something, you could come together as partners to find a way through, instead of battling it out?
It’s a radical shift that creates radical results. And you don’t even have to tell the other person what you’re doing. Just say to yourself, “This person is not the enemy,” and see how it changes how you feel and think, and what you say and do.
Recommended training resource: The barriers that go up between departments and individuals within an organization are destructive, and they can seem insurmountable. Of course, so too, did the Berlin Wall. In our program Tearing Down Walls, renowned management consultant, author, and speaker Dr. Stephen R. Covey uses the tearing down of the Berlin Wall as a powerful metaphor for the ways that people within organizations can break down the barriers between departments.